Let’s talk about the British anxiety of making someone else’s toast

Let's talk about the British anxiety of making someone else's toast

(Picture: Getty)As a Swede, I’ve never given much thought to toast.
You pop the bread it into the toaster, you spread some butter on top and you eat it – the end.
But today, I’ve discovered that in the UK, toast is a controversial topic.
More specifically, making someone else’s toast.
The process isn’t as easy as anticipated and many people feel anxious at the thought of it.
Like Tash, who despite being an ‘excellent butter spreader’ believes it’s best to stick to the DIY approach.

@almaraabgarian Never knew I did until now.
I don’t even do it right for my boyfriend who I live with.
Do it your… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…— Tash Salmon (@Tash_Salmon) February 23, 2019

Perhaps it’s because of my infinite love of all things bread or because my dad was a baker (and would regularly make my toast for me) – but the issue of toast making has never been, well, an issue.
Yet there are so many ways you can get it wrong.
You could make the toast too crisp or too soft.
You could burn it.
You could accidentally break off the edges while you take it out of the toaster and present the person with three quarters of a slice.
And that’s all before you’ve even gotten to the dilemma of spreadables.

@almaraabgarian I get aggy when other people offer to make my toast as I like mine barely toasted and HATE the taste of burnt toast— Ellen C Scott (@EllenCScott) February 23, 2019

@EllenCScott @almaraabgarian *sigh* I can see I’m gonna have to wade in. Toast should be lightly done, golden if yo… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…— Harriet Marsden (@harriet1marsden) February 23, 2019

@almaraabgarian Okay with toast but marmite spreadage is another issue entirely— Jess Denham (@jess_denham) February 23, 2019

Apparently, it’s a British thing – like the obsession with tea.
‘In a way, it’s quite a big deal,’ Jane tells Metro.co.uk.
‘It’s like tea – it’s about comfort – so if it isn’t done right, it doesn’t hit the spot you’ve been anticipating.’
Jane’s ex used to make her toast for her but they kept the toaster on a specific, permanent setting to avoid mishaps.
However, while making food for someone else might seem a trivial topic, it can actually have a serious impact.
For some, like Ella, it can bring on anxiety.
‘I’m quite confident with my toast making skills, but there is one part of the process that does make me a bit nervous,’ she says.
‘You need the toast to be at the perfect temperature so that the butter melts and spreads properly. There’s nothing worse than when the top layer of toast gets too moist and balls up on top of itself when you go to add the Marmite layer on.
‘You can end up with a ball of buttery Marmite-y bread and other parts of toast with just an exposed layer of bread. So yes, making toast for someone else probably does give me a touch of anxiety.’
*Warning: the following includes references to eating disorders that some people may find distressing.*
Choosing, making and eating food isn’t always purely about necessity or pleasure, either. For people with eating disorders, this process can take on a different meaning.
Jane suffered from anorexia before meeting her ex and still remembers how while he indulged in ‘f***loads’ of butter, she only ever had a scraping.
Butter in particular now has a special connotation for her.
‘I still don’t butter bread to this day – but will eat an entire Ben’s Cookie,’ she said.
Be cautious before making a snack for someone you don’t know well.
While it’s a nice gesture, the other person might feel pressured into eating it and feel uncomfortable as a result.
That’s not to say you can’t ever surprise someone special with a nicely cooked meal – so long as you’re sure it won’t make the person feel awkward.
While we’re on the topic of making things for other people, you might want to avoid tea, too.
Research has shown people are very particular about how they like their cuppa, but that discussion is for another time.
Returning to our original dilemma – toast – it might be worth taking Tash’s advice.
Offer the DIY option: present the bread, toaster and spreads, and then walk away from the table.
At least until you can be trusted.

Need support?

If you or someone you know suffers from an eating disorder, you can contact the Beat helpline on 0808 801 0677.
There are also dedicated numbers for students and young people.
You can find all details and more information on eating disorders here.

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